How to grow galangal root

Galangal (Alpinia galanga) is a spicy root herb closely resembling ginger. The root is native to the warm, tropical regions of Asia and is used widely in Asian cuisine in both its fresh and dried form. The above-ground galangal plants grow to a mature height of 6 to 7 feet with upright, narrow foliage growing on brown to orange, fleshy stems. The plant blooms with very small, greenish white, red-veined flowers followed by red berries. You can propagate new galangal with soft cuttings taken from the stems, as cited in National Geographic's "Edible."

Prepare a small pot for planting by filling with a cutting starter mix. Pour about an inch of rooting hormone in a plastic cup.

Cut small sections of fleshy stems from galangal using a sharp scissors. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the stem.

Insert a pencil at a depth of about 2 inches to create planting holes for the cuttings. Dip the base of the cuttings into the rooting hormone, and plant immediately in individual planting holes.

Firm the soil around the cuttings and water well. Place the pot in a large, clear plastic bag. Insert a chopstick in the pot to help hold the bag up. Close the top with a rubber band. This will help to create a greenhouse effect.

Place the pot in a warm, bright area out of direct sunlight. Open the bag every three to four days and water enough to keep soil moist. Cuttings generally root within a few weeks.

Transplant to a shaded spot in the garden with moist, fertile soil. Galangal grows bets in warm, tropical weather. Harvest the root when the leaves yellow and die.

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